According to Skymet, more rains are expected in parts of wheat growing states such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh with a possible hit to wheat production in these areas. However, central government expects a bumper wheat output this year that will surpass the 95.85 million tonnes of output garnered last year. Does this look likely?
According to state governments, the situation is grim as unseasonable March rain has affected the harvest of important rabi crop – wheat that was ready for harvest during this time. With more rains predicted during later this month, the loss of production can rise, aggravating farmers’ misery even further.
Quality and yield of wheat has been adversely impacted due to heavy rain in February and March in Mohali, Kapurthala, Pathankot and Tarn Taran in Punjab. Almost 20% of wheat crop worth Rs 3,000 crore has been damaged due to the recent unseasonal rain, according to Punjab Government. Untimely rains in parts of Maharashtra destroyed wheat crop worth Rs 1,000 crore. Standing crops in about 5 million hectares in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal have been damaged by the recent unseasonal rains. Yet, central government projects a bumper wheat harvest this year.
Wheat harvest has been already delayed by a week due to rain and hailstorm caused by western disturbances over last few weeks in parts of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. According to Skymet Meteorology Division in India, another spell of rain is likely over these areas from March 13 till March 15, followed by a western disturbance around 22nd March.
Heavy downpour at this stage could dim prospects of bumper production of wheat that is ready for harvest in most parts of the country. Due to delay of harvest, crop arrival is expected to be low as well.
In wake of such inclement weather and economic conditions, a sigh of relief for farmers is unlikely.